Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"With the rich and mighty, always a little patience"*

the Houston Chronicle headline of this story reads:

"Airline incident delays Osteens' Vail vacation"

the Vail Daily says:

"Wife of Houston minister delays flight to Vail"

Yes, it's the same story. Apparently Vickie Osteen, wife of megachurch minister and author Joel Osteen,wouldn't take her seat when the stewardess told her to. She insisting her seat was wet, and that, after the stewardess had dried it, it still wasn't dry enough. The flight was consequently delayed at least an hour, after Mrs Osteen was kicked off, and the FBI was called.

I'm guessing the FBI has to be called when a flight is delayed due to a complaining passenger, but none of the stories about this incident say one way or the other, which might suggest to the casual reader that Continental airlines was being unreasonable. But can you imagine what would have happened to her if she wasn't important?

the various big papers that put up the standard AP version don't even tell you about the cause of the incident, and even though the Houston and Vail papers differ wildly in their spin, they both mention the seat. The Daily adds:
"We sat on the ground for two hours," said [Elizabeth]Vail, who was headed to the family condo in Snowmass. "They kept telling us to stay seated with our seatbelts on, that the flight would be leaving in a few minutes. They wouldn't tell us what happened. They didn't tell us until almost the end of the flight."

A couple of first-class passengers saw at least part of what happened.

"As I understand it, she had some drink spill. That started a series of issues with the crew," passenger Herbert Towning said.

"Mr. Osteen was very calm, very professional," passenger Barbara Griffith said. "It's sad."

Another passenger, who didn't want to give her name, agreed with Griffith's account.

"She just had attitude," the unnamed passenger said of Victoria Osteen. "They took her off, and she never came back. Her husband went out, then he came back and got their stuff. An hour-and-a-half later, we were leaving."

*Jimmy Stewart says this to Katherine Hepburn in the Philadelphia Story, I think. The words were written by playwright Phillip Barry. I don't know if he was a Christian, but I seriously doubt he ever attended a megachurch service with a thousand-plus parishioners. I wonder what he would've thought of them.